All posts filed under: Northern Irish Women Poets

“The Bellmouth” and other poems by Gráinne Tobin

Internal Exile   It was all too much. He took to his bed, and stayed there for ten years, begetting, however, several more children. She carried trays up and down the stairs and he lay hidden, staring out to sea. At night he watched the lighthouse winking through his shuttered window. All the money was gone. It didn’t matter. They picked a living from their children’s labour at this salty edge of earth, where there was always fishing, chickens, a smallholding of sorts, some barter.   What got him up and dressed at last was this. One afternoon from under his eiderdown he gazed beyond the glass panes, as the waves framed by floral curtains, silently rose, and gulped his two sons in their boat – corpses never found, skiff washed ashore in pieces, the coastal searches just as futile as that warm sanctuary where the need to witness woke him in the end.   From The Nervous Flyer’s Companion   Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle   The air’s washed now, last night’s sad leavings …

A Celebration of Irish Women Poets on Bloomsday 2017

“Canal Walk Home” by Gillian Hamill   What is it About the power of the water To heal hurts   Three lads sit on the boardwalk They hardly look like delicate sorts. And yet they gaze out Contemplate The rushing rippling mottles of the Undulating lake Can soothe souls.   Car lights are reflected in Striking streaks, always dappling Buzzy thrill of Modern pyrotechnics In the most basic of Science laws.   Edged by banking sycamore leaves I took one and put it in my pocket To describe it better. The smell of its earthy salt and bark Present. And the bare elegance Of stripped black branches Spearing themselves into the night air Soldered into the genesis Of life And yes they are Wild quiet.   A little further on There’s a piece of street art says Only the river runs free And maybe that’s the attraction Of this portal into liberty.   And then to gaze down the row Through Camden Street from Portobello The multi-potted chimney tops Sophisticated lego bricks Pricked by the …

A Celebration of Irish Women Poets on Bloomsday 2016

The Middle of April by Fiona Bolger After Robert Hass   i   whan that Aprille with his shoures soote the droghte of March hath perced to the roote my grandfather quotes Chaucer from the vinyl   ii   he knows more now we will too soon   iii in the spring pelmet of green   in the summer scarf of orange   in the autumn shawl of white   iv   bamboos knock out a tune until disturbed by elephants grazing, discarding as they go   v   The dangers lie in the jugular. No one really likes the smell of elephant poo but it makes paper of a high quality. Words written on digested bamboo. Nothing is lost between page and palm. That is mystery: pen, ink, paper, thread, card, dream, word. A memory clings like the smell of dung. And there are always fibres   vi   let there be peace between us let us learn together om santhi santhi santhi   vi   there’s no shit like your own shit   …

“Fintona” and other poems by Aine MacAodha

Windowless church   My church has no windows in fact it has no doors either and to be fair no altar it has no ordained minister or priest or gospels. Its in my heart, in the starry sky the moon shining over the land its the planets in our solar system the sun when it shines or not its the foods god/creator left us, berries, leaves, nuts my church has winter winds that cut to the bone and to enlighten I have the sweet smell of roses as I follow the seasons. It is bog cotton waving on an early Autumn evening as the sun bids farewell. On nights like these dark and Irish wintery the familiar trees and hills become ancient septs ready for battle with the ether. Fields caped in winter fog appear as crafted cities of the dead souls roam among the rushes in search of utopia or a home. Trees scan the darkened horizon the wind calls out names too and winter hangs around like a threat. This is my church. …

Four voices confront the absence of women in Irish poetry

I have endured the scholastic training worthy of someone of learning. I am versed in the twelve divisions of poetry and the traditional rules. I am so light and fleet I escape from a body of men without snapping a twig, without ruffling a braid of my hair, I run under branches as high as my ankle and over ones high as my head, I scrape thorns from my feet (not mine) while I run, I dance backwards away from myself, these rites are quite common among primitive nations, I am seldom admitted into the companionship of the older, the full privilege of the tribe, without them. By Kathy D’Arcy “A Meditation on Ireland, Women, Poetry and Subversion” at the Honest Ulsterman. There is a narrative gap in Irish poetry that appears to the woman poet, her reviewer, and the poet essayist as ‘absence’, indeed as a type of intellectual privation. That a new generation of women writers are confronting Irish women poets absence from the canon, along with it’s previous attendant tokenism, is truly …